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Ment Health Serv Res. 2005 Mar;7(1):21-33.

Client expectancies about therapy.

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  • 1Center for Evaluation and Program Improvement, Peabody College, Vanderbilt University, USA. sarah.e.dew@vanderbilt.edu


Client expectancies about therapy are considered a common factor, that is, a feature of therapy that is not specific to any particular technique or approach. This review includes both child- and adult-focused studies from the expectancies literature, emphasizing findings about the relationship between expectancies and factors including client improvement, attrition, and therapeutic alliance (TA). Results suggest that expectancies are related to both client improvement and TA, but do not support a relationship between expectancies and attrition. We then present two preliminary hypothesized pathways of how pretreatment client characteristics and therapy outcomes relate to role and outcome expectancies. Implications of these pathways are discussed.

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